By on March 12, 2020

The hosts of the Discovery Channel’s Diesel Brothers have been fined $851,451 for selling modified pickups that violate Utah law and the federally recognized Clean Air Act.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby also said the plaintiffs, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, could submit their attorney fees for the defendants to pay. Cole Cannon, lawyer to the stars, has said the plaintiffs’ attorneys previously told the judge they were seeking $1.2 million.

Friday’s court documents stipulate that David “Heavy D” Sparks, Joshua Stuart, Keaton Hoskins, and “Diesel Dave” Kiley pay $761,451 to the U.S. government with the remaining $90,000 going to Davis County in Utah. The group has already been found guilty of removing particulate filters and exhaust recirculation systems on the cars used for the television program. The only genuine surprise was the sizable fine —  as well as some court-appointed rules that will probably make the show less exciting to watch. 

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Judge Shelby was appalled by footage of the brothers (who are only related by their common love of all things diesel) rolling coal — especially because they seemed to be making a profit from it.

“These economic benefits,” he explained in his ruling, “continue extending well beyond the profits from these prohibited activities to defendants’ status as television and social media celebrities, the reputation and notoriety of their brands, and the economic leverage they have used to accumulate assets and start new businesses.”

Shelby also said the show will be prohibited from removing pollution mitigation systems for the show or selling any vehicles without the required emissions equipment, noting that any missteps could put them in contempt of court. Considering the Diesel Brothers’ entire premise revolves around the building of brash diesels with more power, it could be tricky rule to follow.

While the show’s habit of selling (or simply giving away) modified vehicles used in filming isn’t abnormal, it has opened it up to complications. Physicians for a Healthy Environment had an ace up its sleeve when it purchased one of the program’s modified trucks. Intended to be used as evidence from the outset, the pickup was sent to Denver for testing.

Documents show the rig emitted 36 times more pollution and 21 times the amount of particulate matter than an identical truck equipped with proper emission control devices. A case was made against the show, with plaintiffs adding that Sparks also runs a website, called Dieselsellerz, that allows customers to buy and sell used pickups with illegal modifications.

It appears to have been a rather effective strategy. Reed Zars, an attorney representing Utah Physicians, noted that the judge came extremely close to issuing the maximum fines allowable by law.

The Diesel Brothers have responded by saying the changes needed to keep diesels in line with regulatory laws have become ridiculous, noting that they’ve tried to adhere with rules as environmental groups continue hunting for ways to cripple aftermarket companies and tuners. Furthermore, they claim that some of the modifications performed on the show actually improve MPGs and power. It’s their belief that such modifications would be desirable to consumers. They added that the court completely ignored their routine usage of biofuels.

 

[Image: Toa55/Shutterstock]

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62 Comments on “‘Diesel Brothers’ Fined $850,000 for Rolling Coal...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    USG hates diesel and has since about the 80s… but these guys were grade one asshats for rolling coal and drawing attention to themselves.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The other day in the gym, one of the TVs was playing a show featuring real-life moonshiners. What kind of morons think that putting their illegal activities on television is a good idea??

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, they apparently were making pretty big money off the show…

      https://www.standard.net/news/environment/million-in-penalties-possible-against-diesel-brothers-for-clean-air/article_6ea07615-7b50-54fd-873a-ec6a848a6422.html

    • 0 avatar
      Sceptic

      Limited moonshine making is not illegal in some Southern states. Even for purpose of selling it I believe. Maybe things have changed but that’s how it was in the 90’s.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        Well if it was then it’s not allowed now. And the penalty has sharp teeth.

        “While individuals of legal drinking age may produce wine or beer at home for personal or family use, Federal law strictly prohibits individuals from producing distilled spirits at home (see 26 United States Code (U.S.C.) 5042(a)(2) and 5053(e)).”
        Citation: https://www.ttb.gov/distilled-spirits/penalties-for-illegal-distilling

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      They don’t. My understanding is that there is no illegal moonshine depicted on the show. It’s water.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    It’s akin to modifying for loud pipes. It’s just an attention grab and only annoys other drivers. I never saw a coal roller or loud piper and thought “Oh my how impressive they must be!”
    Obviously, they are compensating for something else.. fine the sht out of them.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    BE STUPID ! .

    BE PROUD ! .

    Pay the piper you dumbshits .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    The Cummins 12-valve engines ( the one-wire engines ) are utterly corked from the factory. One doesn’t have to blow black smoke to get a noticeable power and mileage increase, though.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    This story warms the cockles of my heart.

    A lot of Utahns take fresh air, exercise, and their own health seriously. Dunno why anybody would be surprised by this ruling…….. if I were to make a list of, say ten states where “rolling coal” and similar shenanigans might be socially acceptable enough that I could get away with it, Utah ain’t gonna be on that list.

    Or, in a single word,

    duh.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Considering all the stuff that’s illegal or restricted in Utah due to the moral sensibilities of much of the population, rolling coal must be looked upon almost like passing gas in the Temple.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Salt Lake City unlike some Sun Belt and Southern cities has an extensive rail and bus network that has contributed to an improvement in air quality in the region. Clearly not the sensibility of the “Rollin coal” ‘Brodozer” demo. But hey you can do both. Commute on the rail and bus during the week and use the truck for the weekend jaunts.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Exactly they should have set up shop in North Arkansas…whoops, I mean Missouri.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    Neanderthals. Those smoke belching beasts are no worse than those noise maker modifications to rice burners and to V-8 engine cars. I’m so sick of cold start videos on youtube and those who think the more noise a regular quiet car makes is the best form of educated life. It is time to start really going after these noise makers – a six figure fine would do wonders to shape up youtube – like that clown vanityvlog (my name for him).

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    I’m just sorry the death penalty was off the table. Not for rolling coal, just for being morons that should be prevented from reproducing.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      I’d be happy with castration.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Or maybe just involuntary vascetomy…..

        FWIW, I’m a Diesel head, I have three old Mercedes Diesels and none of them smoke.

        One has well over 300,000 miles, one has nearly 500,000 miles, and NO GOD DAMN SMOKE ! .

        It’s a _choice_ .

        -Nate
        (who also had a vasectomy by choice)

  • avatar
    mor2bz

    The government itself is guilty of ignoring and suppressing evidence of diesel dangers. Fines won’t stop this uncivilized behavior for either
    manufacturers (falsifying tests) or users. It is hard to believe that these two gems of individuals think that
    an improvement in power and mpg justifies their
    position. I cannot understand how people would pay MORE for diesel fuel for the sake of a few more mpg. I am thankful that the latest pickups have tremendous power without using diesel. I hate the smell of it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Any emissions-era truck emitting more than a puff of black smoke should be impounded and released only to a certified emissions shop, which should be permitted to release it to the owner only after certifying under penalty of perjury that all factory emissions systems are in place and functioning correctly.

    If that certification is not completed within 30 days (meaning any work necessary to restore factory emissions is complete and paid for), the truck should be crushed.

    Intentional spewing of carcinogens at other members of the public is assault and should be treated accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      This is the correct answer. Diesel exhaust is particularly carcinogenic and loaded with benzene and other compounds that end in -ene and -ide and are universally bad for one’s health. And the people affected arent the moron driving the coal roller, but everyone behind them and all of the residents in the houses surrounding where the truck is driven. The same should apply to any semi trailers or school buses that are belching black or white smoke.

      DEF treated diesel catalysts do help minimize harmful pollutants quite notably. ULSD has helped as well. Either way, someone that tampers with diesel emissions intentionally should get jail time and be fined heavily.

      And for the coal rollers who argue that “A gAs CaR iS jUsT aS bAd”, nothing could be further from the truth.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      There are other less than legal means of repercussion.
      1. Under-ripe grapefruit(s) stuffed into the tail pipe are not easy/cheap to remove.
      2. 4-6 ounces of wheel weights on the inside of the wheel cause a horrible vibration at 40mph+ and are not easy to spot.
      3. A bb placed under a tight valve stem cap causes a slow leak that is almost impossible to identify.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Note to self: Do not make Jon angry. ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        Mr Fix It

        And I would advocate for the maximum sentence you could spend in prison when your childish and criminal vigilante justice [email protected] kills someone. There are legal ways to a solution, as this group demonstrated. How about being more grown up than those you have an issue with.

        Yes, I have a diesel truck. Yes emissions are intact. Yes, these clowns do everything that makes others despise them. No, I will not risk an innocent driver or pedestrian getting injured or killed because I think putting a BB under a valve stem to cause a flat and possible blow out is a good solution to addressing modifications done to a vehicle (or heck, anything else I just don’t happen to like or approve of).

        Hey genius, when the flat is repaired, or the accident investigation is underway, what do you think will happen to that BB you recommend? Leak identified and crime investigation launched. Cameras are everywhere, are you invisible? Grow up.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    Dan:

    Utah has at least one senator who is well aware of the moral sensibilities of the state and who does make some effort to adhere to and implement them.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I occasional watched this show (usually while traveling) and would often think that there is no way that build would fly in my state…and I live in freaking Alabama for crying out loud.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    They 100% deserve what they got and more. Idiots.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I feel old, because I remember a time when the Discovery Channel wasn’t synonymous with white trash.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      There’s a cohort in our society that feels threatened by socio-economic stratification that, as they perceive it, leaves them behind. That has spawned a mythology that claims being a “redneck” is a desired state-of-being and is more authentic than striving for continuous improvement in their situation. The networks exploit a need to self-validate that ethos and reap the financial rewards for doing so.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        that’s why I laugh (inside) when I see some suburban kid affect a drawl, start chewing tobacco, and talk about the lifted diesel truck he wants (clad in Confederate flags and Punisher decals, no doubt.) All I can think is “of all the opportunities you have in this great country of ours, you decided to aspire to *this*?”

        Sometimes I think Lincoln should have let the south go. All keeping the country together did was let the Confederacy take over gradually in the 150 years hence.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “All I can think is “of all the opportunities you have in this great country of ours, you decided to aspire to *this*?””

          lolololol…. for some people, pretty much.

        • 0 avatar
          EGSE

          “you decided to aspire to *this*?”

          Oh, a great example (it’s “Tapout” stickers where I live). Mine is of someone who was low and declines to move up, yours is of someone who was “of the manor born” and hits the down button to self-degradation.

          I escaped the gravity well of meager circumstances. After it was in the rear-view mirror I watched with bemusement as engineer, technician, physician and accountant colleagues took off their suits, lab coats, esd jackets and donned faux outlaw MC garb often adorned with patches and rockers. They rumbled around on Harleys pretending to be someone they weren’t. I smiled politely but inwardly said “if you only knew”.

          This isn’t a motorcycle slam. I had several Hondas and know the adrenaline rush of twisting the grip on a built crotch-rocket. But two wheels was the only common denominator.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      There the folk’s watchin.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    OK, the fine seems sort of excessive (personally, I’d have preferred jail time – I have a feeling these guys will actually make whatever they pay out in fines back playing “we’re oppressed by the big bad gubmint” with the bro-dozer crowd), but these clowns had something like this coming. You don’t broadcast your illegal activities on TV and then expect no consequences.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      When people are making big money, they won’t be deterred by small fines. The fine is at least big enough to make them pay attention, but I don’t know if it’s big enough to convince them to leave this business.

      If I were the regulator, I think I would have imposed the same fine, but also crushed all trucks in their possession with removed or modified emissions equipment.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Was their removal of stock equipment their only mistake? Suppose they started with older, pre-emissions trucks, then went whole hog? Is it the same under the law?

        From what I can tell, older diesel pickups are rapidly increasing in popularity/price.

        • 0 avatar
          EGSE

          From comments on other boards, ease and economy of maintenance has something to do with that. For one example, the 5.9 litre 12v Cummins was a simple beast from an earlier era. As of a few years ago, injectors were about $50 each at Rock Auto. You could do the job in your driveway for the cost of a few beers. No DPF or DEF, SCR etc.

          The 24v Cummins injectors were an eye-popping ~$550 each. And the box for each injector had a two letter code representing the fuel flow that had to be programmed into the EMU. Only the dealer had the software to do that (and possibly some indie shops). Except for niche use cases it swings the advantage back to the gassers.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    And to further cement these guys’ status as complete morons (and unknowing comedians)…according to C/D, they actually sold one of the offending trucks to the physicians’ group that ended up suing them; the group had the truck tested and the rest is history.

    (Cue the sad trombone…)

    https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a31399622/diesel-brothers-reality-tv-fined/

  • avatar
    IBx1

    All the black smoke is power you aren’t making.

  • avatar
    davew833

    The “dominant religion” in Utah didn’t create the geographical features of the Wasatch Front, which has a serious air quality problem due to the prevalence of temperature inversions that trap smog in the valley. And Salt Lake City is less than 50% Mormon now so the tired old Mormon jokes are just that– tired and old. Utah residents are a diverse group, and aside these idiots who got what’s coming to them, we all want clean air regardless of religion. I applaud this verdict and sentence.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Remember, to people like this “freedom” means “I’m free to do whatever I want to you, and you’re free to sit three and take it.”

    Nothing but a bunch of insecure, “wannabe alphas” who are too scared to try to assert their dominance face to face, so they just carpet you in a cloud of soot then scurry away to safety.

  • avatar
    Justice_Gustine

    Lawyer name checks out.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Braindead trash that should be forced to sit behind their trucks and breathe that crap for a few hours. Why “people” do this is beyond me. If I was a cop and I saw a ‘roller, they’d need that pickup to bring home all the tickets I’d write them.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    Do you want laws outlawing modifying any vehicles? This is how you get laws outlawing modifying any vehicles!

    As a guy who loves to build in his garage, I have no sympathy for Diesel Brothers. They’re endangering my hobby! Remember the EPA proposal that came out a few years ago, threatening to outlaw all modification? This is why.

    I bought an ’89 Chevy Stepside last year and discovered it had been straight piped. When I go to Pull-A-Part, most of the trucks there are straight piped. I built a new exhaust for the truck and paid the extra money to put cats back on it. Why? Because I believe in being a good neighbor. Now if I could just get some free-flowing mufflers that weren’t so loud…

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I never understood that. Cats on those sorts of vehicles are never expensive and unless you are running a serious track machine maybe, removing them isn’t going to give you a power increase. It isn’t 1977 anymore.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    These idiots told VAG to “hold their beer”.

  • avatar
    Hans Shtick

    Coal Rollers are yet another symptom of those in our society whose overarching philosophy can best be summarized as “F____ You.” This mindset has spread throughout too much of our culture, including our political discourse.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Every Freedumb-lovin’ diesel owner in Montana immediately removes (and usually sells off) the emissions systems on modern diesels. They do so because there are zero emissions checks there. I guess this puts them, and the shops that do the work, in violation of Federal law, and I’d bet that many of these shops have produced far more dirty diesels than the ‘Dorks’ have.

  • avatar
    agroal

    After that fine how can the brothers afford their monthly meth bill?

  • avatar
    apl

    Why have not the medical organizations & the State of Utah sued garages & motorcycle shops who replaced noise complying exhaust systems with ear splitting and hazardously loud exhaust systems, such as those routinely installed on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The intentionally loud exhaust noise is just as hazardous to your health as the diesel smoke – not taking into account the loud noise prevents riders from sirens and horns – besides the ‘Loud Pipes – Saves Lives’ being completely untrue and a false mantra in the attempt to justify loud exhaust systems that just distract motorists & is not heard by on-coming vehicles which are involved in most motorcycle crashes that involve injuries or worse. No difference between Rolling Coal and Rolling Thunder -both are harmful to the health and well-being of others.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    The buyers of these trucks also by in large knew what they were getting. They should get very nice letters informing them that they have a fixed amount of time to have the vehicles brought into compliance or lose the ability to register them in any state. Should they continue to operate on public roads after that, without repair, crush em’.

    And “rolling coal” is dangerous outside of the carcinogens…you are obscuring the vision of the driver you are rolling. This behavior should be treated as street racing with heavy fines, and a similar strategy as above.

  • avatar
    Steve

    I’ve been a big fan of anything with wheels and pistons for decades. But this b—sh-t rolling coal is for toothless, hillbilly morons. Build a truck and use it as a truck and not as some idiot magnet.

    WTF…lump in burn out contests with that as well.

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